Auto Review: The 2010 #Ford Fusion Hybrid

Some of you might remember from “I’m getting a Fusion Hybrid” and “Good Social Media Idea or Bad?” that I was contacted a while back about participating in a test drive program for Ford.

If you’ve ever heard me talk about cars, you’ll know that I know very little about them, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t be interested in taking part in such a program… especially one that ties in social media.

Thursday, the Fusion Hybrid was dropped off at my house.

I was a little disappointed that the car did not appear to be moving this fast even when sitting still, and I wondered why they chose to make a baby blue car, but it turns out the car color is actually called Light Ice Blue Metallic. [Note: The color grew on me. {Note to the previous note: I don't care much about color anyway.}] I did however like the overall aesthetics immediately.

For about 24 hours, I only used the car for commuting… going to the office, grocery shopping, etc, and it appeared to live up to it’s EPA Fuel Economy Estimate of 41 mpg city… more or less.
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I, of course, did not have time to read the manual, so I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the leaves on the right side of the picture here seem to grow when your average miles per gallon increases, and they disappear when it decreases. How cool is that?! Not only do you get the number read out, but a visualization too.

Saturday, a good friend was getting married in central Washington – a nearly 5 hour drive from where I live – so I was looking forward to really opening things up on the freeway.

One thing you’ll notice when you drive the Fusion Hybrid is that it’s fairly quiet inside, which works out well for testing the Sync system with my iPhone. I couldn’t get it to connect via bluetooth with my phone, but that was no big deal since the car had both a 1/8th inch (headphone) input and a USB input in the center console. Immediately upon connecting, the Sync system began cataloging my music so that I could flip through it using either the radio dash controls or the steering wheel controls.
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While I liked that the stereo had a big booming sound and that it would so easily connect to my iPhone, I did not like the placement of the controls on the steering wheel. I’m used the them being up just slightly higher so that they are easier to reach with my thumbs. In this position, I found that I had to adjust my hands downward just a bit whenever I wanted to control the stereo or cruise control.
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Speaking of buttons and controls, there were way too many buttons to get used to on the stereo dash panel. I appreciated all of the options presented and the dials were easy to use, but not being accustomed to the car, this was pretty daunting. In defense of this set up though, I should say that I am used to using a touch screen, DVD, navigation, etc etc style system, and so this isn’t really bad. It’s just outside my comfort zone.

Out on the freeway, I found a number of pluses to the Fusion Hybrid. While it did not respond immediately when I stepped hard on the gas, it accelerated very quickly… much faster than I am used to. Also, when going down a mild mountain pass in neutral, it would continue to gain speed up until I hit the brakes, and I’m not claiming that I got it going this fast, but let’s just say that I think it’s aerodynamic enough that it could easily exceed 90 mph on a slight downhill in neutral.

Going through the mountains in a hurry though, I noticed that the Fusion Hybrid’s gas mileage did drop significantly from the 40+ mpg I was getting in the city to around 34 mpg. Keep in mind though that I was in a hurry so not really taking advantage of the electric engine a lot on the trip over.
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Even though, I didn’t really need to. I stopped for gas after about half a tank was gone. From the car computer predictions and my experience driving, it looks like I would have gotten nearly 600 miles out of a single 15 gallon (is that correct?) tank… much better than I’m accustomed to, and I’m one of those quirky guys that tests out many of the hypermiling tricks. ;-)

Upon arrival at the wedding spot, I took some more time to check out the rest of the car. The interior was pretty nice… some sort of mesh fabric instead of leather or anything like that. It was pretty nice, black, and spacious – at least compared to my normal ride. The trunk was large, and my guess is that I would be able to fit a lot of my music equipment in the trunk alone.

While at the wedding, I did have some fun scaring people by making the horn honk with the remote as they walked by. That, I could do all the way from my hotel room, which looked to be 200-300 feet away. :-)

On the drive back, I took things quite a bit easier, saw my gas mileage improve, and was pleasantly surprised to read the short trip summary that pops up on the dash every time you turn the car off.

Conclusion/s
I liked the Ford Fusion Hybrid. It was a nice car, and everyone I asked said the same. It handled well, had a great sounding stereo, got better gas mileage than most cars out there, and was overall enjoyable.

Is it worth the price?
MSRP for the version I drove is just under US$28K. The estimated average fuel cost is $731/year at 15K miles and a fuel price of US$1.90/gallon. Someone do the math. How long would it take to recoup the additional cost of it being a hybrid? US$28K is a lot of money, so I would want to know fairly certainly how quickly I could break even on this versus a non-hybrid model.

When it comes down to it, I think the Ford Fusion Hybrid is a great car, but I wouldn’t buy one right now. Why? I only need and can afford one vehicle, and it has to have all wheel drive due to the occasional snow here. Excluding that issue, I could definitely see myself driving this car permanently. It is nice inside and out, gets better gas mileage than most vehicles out there, and would probably make me feel good knowing that I was (hopefully) in some way cutting down a bit on my carbon footprint.

Questions? Did I not cover an aspect of the car you’re interested in? Are these cars not as environmentally friendly as I’ve been led to believe? Please let me know.

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  • Mike

    Nice job bro…Let me know if they need more reviewers or test drivers. I'd be happy to participate!
    :-p

  • http://twitter.com/mikanui2 Michael H Kaleikini

    Nice job bro…Let me know if they need more reviewers or test drivers. I'd be happy to participate!
    :-p

  • Mike

    Nice job bro…Let me know if they need more reviewers or test drivers. I'd be happy to participate!
    :-p

  • http://mikekaleikini.com Michael Kaleikini

    Nice job bro…Let me know if they need more reviewers or test drivers. I'd be happy to participate!
    :-p

  • http://Hybridca-r.com greenstorm

    One off the best variant from ford, you will not regret try this

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